CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Prime #1
Reviewed by Blackjack
"I don't mean to brag, but I'm not just any run-of-the-mill freedom fighter."
Unlike the disastrous Animated comic series, when IDW put out this new Transformers: Prime comic, they actually put some effort into it. Instead of turning it into a banal 'comedy time' comic like their weak attempt during Animated's run, TF: Prime benefits from it being conceived as a comic series first instead of individual weak stories.
This first chapter basically introduces a set-up of the series, as well as Cliffjumper and Arcee, with an excellent monologue in the beginning by Cliffy. Our two heroes are likeable, and easily catches my attention. Cliffjumper is sarcastic without being unbelievably annoying like Animated Bumblebee, while Arcee is a slightly proud loner. The art by E.J. Su is crisp and well done... well, until we get to Arcee, at least. The eyes look weird as well. The action scenes with Arcee are drawn rather haphazardly, and her face looks so distorted at one point. However, the set-up to the status quo, and likely an origin story to how these two Autobots arrived on Earth, is well done. A la Stormbringer, the comic series is also set on a barren Cybertron, and likely is on a similar setting to early IDW comics and the Movie continuity. Personally, I enjoyed the issue. Then again, I've always had a soft spot for Movieverse-based fiction. There is great characterization, genuinely funny humour (not bad jokes for jokes' sake like what IDW's ongoing does, or TFWiki-specific jokes like what Animated tends to do) and the right balance between talking and letting the art do the talking for you.
While far from flawless, this is a great start to build up on this comic series that would hopefully be a great prequel before watching the TF: Prime TV show. With the relatively high standards that the live action movies and Animated had set, TF: Prime might surprise us all by surpassing both.
This miniseries, unlike IDW's normal procedure, is released in TPB form first in late 2010 before the Prime TV series debuted, and is slated for release in individual issues starting January 2011.
Presumably this takes place three years prior to the first episode, in which the Autobots say that the last Decepticon activity was three years ago.
Like in both the IDW-verse and the Movieverse, Cybertron is an abandoned wasteland due to the lack of Energon, and Autobot forces are 'spread thin', according to Cliffjumper's monologue.
Both Cliffjumper and Arcee are in their pre-Earth modes. That is, they have no vehicle mode kibble as of yet. There are also small stylistic differences, like shorter horns for Cliffjumper.
Those generic Decepticons are presumably the same mold as the Eradicon drones/generics seen in the show proper.
Cliffjumper name-drops Unicron.
Optimus Prime sending a message that calls for the Autobots scattered in space from Earth is very similar to the status quo at the end of the first live-action movie.
Kaon is the Decepticon capital in Dreamwave's War Within comic, and every other Transformers fiction after it. People seem to have forgotten Helex of Marvel UK...
Not so much as a goof, but Arcee kills so many Eradicons by herself here (at least five) without breaking a sweat, yet in the show she had trouble fighting two, even with Bumblebee helping. Other than that (which does not really constitute a goof), though, this is one of the cleanest issues IDW had churned out of late.
Again, not a goof, but the Eradicons here (and throughout the series) are colourful, with green and orange and black thrown into the mix, instead of just a single purple version like the show.
Cliffjumper: Who would be crazy enough to go back to a dead planet up against unknown numbers of Decepticons with no backup? Well, let's just say... they don't call me Cliffjumper for nothing!
Cliffjumper: "Who's your designer? Starscream? This look just says Starscream to me."
Eradicon: "You think cracking jokes is going to save you?"
Cliffjumper: "I think it's worth a shot."
Eradicon: "What does it say? Tell me!"
Cliffjumper: "This is incredible! The message says... I can't believe this..."
Eradicon: "Yes? Yes?!"
Cliffjumper: "It says Megatron smells like Unicron's armpit! Isn't that incredible?"
Eradicon: "End him!"
Cliffjumper: "Hey! Wait! What about the whole 'no scrapping until you've outlived your uselfulness' thing?"
Cliffjumper: "'Shhh'? Nobody 'shhh's me!"
Arcee: "I know your reputation for leaping before you look. That tends to leave you in need of rescuing."
Arcee: "But one mistake-"
Cliffjumper: "Yeah, yeah, you'll sell me for scrap, I get it."